Local food crop production can fulfil demand for less than one-third of population - Article in Nature Food

17 April 2020: In an article published today in Nature Food a global analysis of the minimum distance between food production and food consumption is presented for major food crops. Survey data from international databases and simulation results of a global crop model are used to describe spatial patterns of crop production and consumption for temperate cereals, maize, rice, tropical cereals, tropical roots and pulses. Combined, these crops these crops account for approximately 47% of the globally traded calories. Then an optimization approach is used to minimize either the distance or the travel time between the locations of food production and consumption.

The results show that only 11-28% of the global population can fulfil their demand for specific crops within a 100 km-radius, with substantial variation between different regions and crops. For 26-64% of the population, that distance is greater than 1000 km. While yield gap closure and food loss reductions could favour more local food systems, particularly in Africa and Asia, global supply chains would still be needed to ensure adequate and stable food supply.

6 research teams located in Finland, the USA, Australia and Germany collaborated to perform this study to make an important contribution to the ongoing debate about consequences of the globalization of food supply chains versus local food movements and food sovereignty discourses.

Link to the article in Nature Food
Link to the article via Sharedit (open access, read-only)
Link to the press release of the University of Göttingen

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